A new study suggests that more than half of UK parents have not made a will – effectively leaving their children without legal guardianship in the event of an unexpected death.

Parents are being warned that, without appointing a guardian for their dependents, a guardian will be appointed for their children by a Court in the event of a death – which may be a person neither related to nor previously known to their children.

Parents are strongly advised not to assume that a Court will automatically grant custody to uncles, aunts, grandparents or relations.

Furthermore, without an air-tight will in place, parents are advised that they are unable to determine exactly what will happen to their assets upon death – or to specify what their children will be entitled to.

In a recent survey, 53 per cent of parents admitted to having no will in place – while 13 per cent claimed that they thought leaving behind a will was unnecessary.

Despite the rate of unexpected and early deaths on the rise, 19 per cent added that they considered themselves ‘too young’ to write a will.

A further 21 per cent said that they thought the key purpose of a will was to secure the future of assets, and that their assets were not substantial enough to require a will.